Nationals have checked in on Casey Janssen


The Nationals, in search of bullpen help, have checked in on free agent reliever Casey Janssen and others, per a report from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The club recently traded long-time reliever Tyler Clippard to the Athletics in exchange for shortstop Yunel Escobar, and appear to be ready to rely on Drew Storen as their closer in 2015.

Janssen, 33, began the 2014 season on the disabled list with a back injury. He made his season debut for the Blue Jays on May 12 and pitched well through the All-Star break, compiling a 1.23 ERA in 22 innings. In the second half, however, he struggled, posting a 6.46 ERA in 23 2/3 innings. According to FanGraphs, the right-hander lost velocity on all of his pitches, including about one MPH on his fastball.

Pirates hire Ben Cherington as their new general manager

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.

Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.

Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.

The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.